They'll be watching you…

I’ve been spending this weekend recovering from the term just ended, preparing a proposal for the upcoming CCCCs in Chicago, and planning a section of first year composition I start teaching on Monday. And to tell the truth, because I’ve spent more time “recovering” from the last time (e.g., not doing the other things I have to do by Monday), I think I’ll probably be getting to work this afternoon and put The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy off to another day. Just as well; I’ve heard kind of so-so reviews that make me think it’s worth a rental.

Anyway, through the course of web surfing this weekend, I came across two different yet related web items having to do with the conflicts between privacy and ubiquitous-computing. Via Johndan’s blog, I came across an article called “All watched over by machines of loving grace: Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous-computing,” which was written by Adam Greenfield and published at site called Boxes and Arrows. Greenfield is a computer expert writing to other computer experts, and while the technical capabilities for “ubi-comp” is progressing rapidly, the ethical and privacy implications of all this hasn’t worked out quite as fast.

Earlier in the weekend, I came across this flash video about ordering pizza in the future from the ACLU, which more or less depicts a logical extreme example of the kind of thing that ubiquitous-computing would make possible. (BTW, I am apparently quite behind the curve in catching up on this ACLU pizza meme).

Both of these pieces are interesting and kind of alarming, too. At the same time, I kind of feel like that this might be a bit further into the future than is being implied. Frankly, I have a hard time getting the place I order pizza from to bring me something with the right ingredients in a timely fashion.

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